by Zolton in New Music on Thursday 26 June 2008

We launch our new newsletter, My Secret Playlist next Tuesday — with Moby’s selections — and as a teaser for it, we asked Brooklyn power pop group Hello Tokyo to tell us about eight of their favourite songs right now.

1. Parts and Labor — The Gold We Are Digging (SAM).
The beautifully mangled and powerfully driving beat lured me in, the dirty/glitchy undertones kept me interested, and the anthem-esque lyrics and melody sold me. Don’t even get me started on their new video.

2. God Only Knows — The Beach Boys (VINCE).
If songs represented NFL teams, this one would be the 1985 Bears. The melody in the opening vocal line alone capture everything you can possibly intend to express in a love song, before the lyrics (and mind-blowing ones at that) were even added. This is coupled with a masterpiece arrangement: offence, defense, coaching, and special teams in perfect harmony.

3. Beck — Timebomb (KAT).
Any song that can instantly make me happy and want to dance goes to the top of my playlist. Beck has been and continues to be a major influence, particularly on our next album.

4. Cake — Short Skirt/Long Jacket (KAT).
This is the only band I’m into that knows how to use a Vibraslap tastefully. The melody and lyrics are very unique, one of those songs you know as soon as it starts. A short skirt and a long jacket is my favorite outfit anyways. I’m pretty sure this song is about me.

5. Oingo Boingo — Grey Matter (JOHN).
Not only is Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo genius, this song saved my life. Honestly! While driving overnight from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh on tour (somewhere around Zanesville, Ohio, at 4:30am), I was one Chris Isaak song away from falling asleep behind the wheel. Lucky for me, the MP3 player was on shuffle and Grey Matter popped on. It was way better than coffee or Red Bull or any other stupid wannabe 80s band. Oingo Boingo kills it, and they existed so you don’t have to.

6. Big Country — Close Action (JOHN).
Rad song by my alltime favorite band. They’re basically the reason I started playing music. In my opinion, this song has the greatest bass line ever (Tony Butler rules). This is the first time a song made me feel nostalgic, before I even knew what nostalgia meant. Not only is this song full of longing, it’s full of awesome guitar riffs, sick drum beats, and e-bow mastery. I wish I could write a song with one-thousandth the sweetness of Close Action.

7. The Wrens — Happy (EAVVON).
As one of my favorite bands from New Jersey, this song means the most to me at this point in my life. The development of the tension, yet the lack of real structure, builds this song more into a confessional instead of a thought out projection of emotion. Charles even kicks the attitude of the track into an optimistic conclusion free of words, form, or logic in a streamlined transition that appears as a further justification of his own personal happiness.

8. Ol’ Dirty Bastard — Shimmy Shimmy Ya (EAVVON).
One of my favorite rappers, Ol’ Dirty Bastard does for Hip-Hop what Iggy Pop did for punk rock. His energy and foolishness not only tells its own tragic story, but also ironically provides joy to its listeners and acts as a true testament to the relationship between entertainer and fan.

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